Pondicherry Legal Services Authority
PONDICHERRY LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY
The Union Territory of Pondicherry Legal Services Authority (UTPLSA), a statutory body under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has been established to provide legal services to the poor.
Legal Aid Movement in Pondicherry was started in 1976 under the direction of a Retired District Judge and a devoted group of Law College Students.
The UTPLSA run thus far by the students and teachers of the Law College came under this Retired Judge and his group of Law students. They offered legal advice and rendered preventive legal services, enlightening the public of their legal rights and duties.
A group of Lawyers on the panel of the UTPLSA rendered their services to parties in Civil and Criminal matters. The UTPLSA engaged, additionally, in Legal Literacy and Community Legal Education Works with the help of mobile Legal Aid Squads. Further, it gave research support to the solution of poverty-related problems and suggested legislative changes and administrative reforms. Eventually, the activities of the UTPLSA diversified into consumer movement, environmental protection, community health and group legal services for workers and peasants. All this while, it functioned as a voluntary agency subsisting on the free services of social-minded Judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students. With the establishment of CILAS (Committee for the Implementation of Legal Aids Scheme) in 1980, the Government of Pondicherry, in 1983, constituted Pondicherry Legal Aid and Advice Board with the Chief Minister as Chairman, the Law Minister as Vice-Chairman and a retired District Judge as Member Secretary with financial assistance flowing, for the first time, from the Government. Regional Legal Aid Committee was constituted for each of the outlying areas: Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. The provisions of Chapter – III of the National Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was extended to Pondicherry on 26-2-1998. Soon, on 1-5-1998, the Union Territory of Pondicherry Legal Services Authority was born.
Hon'ble Thiru. Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal Acting Chief Justice, High Court, Madars is the Patron-in-Chief of the UTPLSA. Hon'ble Tmt. Justice Chitra Venkataraman, Judge, High Court, Madras is the Executive Chairman of the UTPLSA. Thiru. P. Nallathambi, a Judicial Officer in the grade of District Judge functions as the Member Secretary, State Authority of the UTPLSA. Thiru. C.S. Murugan Chief Judge, Puducherry District Authority of the UTPLSA.
The above said Authority conducts legal aid camps in the villages of the four regions of this Union Territory and imparts para-legal training and also conducts Lok Adalat mainly involving Motor Accident cases. Continuous Lok Adalat is being conducted at Puducherry every Monday and Friday in a week. The said Authority also conducts legal literacy programmes.